Stingrays: Injuries have made Cale Tanaka mentally strong
UNLUCKY Cale Tanaka says this season's injury nightmare at Hull Stingrays has made him mentally stronger.
The Canadian forward suffered a potential season-ending broken wrist in Belfast on Saturday night.
The injury comes just days after having two teeth knocked out in training and only weeks after having a piece of skin ripped off his nose.
Add in pre-Christmas AC shoulder joint damage and it's been a season to forget.
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"I've never really gone through injury patches before, but it's part of the game," said Tanaka, who joined Stingrays in the summer.
"I've got to stay positive. I'm not happy it's happened, but I'm happy it's happened to me rather than someone else.
"I have become mentally stronger with everything that's gone on. I can face it.
"I will keep supporting the team and maybe take a couple of days off before getting back to work to do what it takes to get back in the line-up as soon as possible."
The Rapid Solicitors Stingrays were last night submitting video evidence to the Elite League in a bid to have disciplinary action taken against the Giants player involved – claiming it was a blind-side hit which caused the damage.
"As soon as he hit me I didn't stay down, I skated off the ice but I knew there was something wrong with my wrist," said Tanaka.
"I was kind of calm, but I knew right away I had a problem."
Tanaka now hopes his unexpected absence will allow his shoulder and nose to heal fully.
He is also aiming to be back before the end of the season, especially if Stingrays are still in the hunt for a play-off place.
"The doctors have told me it's six weeks with the cast on, but hopefully I will return a bit quicker so I'm back for the last little bit when we're making a push for the play-offs.
"Hopefully it won't have that much of an impact me being out," said the 26-year-old.
"I trust in the boys. They have the potential to win games but obviously I want to be out there helping.
"When I was out before the boys were getting the job done. Hopefully they'll bring in the younger guys again and they can step up and carry some of the load.
"When they stepped up earlier in the season they did a fantastic job, and hopefully they can do it again."
Tanaka was one of the four Stingrays picked for the Elite League's Import Select team to face Great Britain in Sheffield tonight, as was Janis Ozolins, who was axed last week.
Their places have been taken by Jereme Tendler and Dominic Osman, who join defensive duo Dmitri Rodin and Shane Lovdahl.
Also drafted in to the Import team, coached by Stingrays' Sylvain Cloutier, is netminder Greg Blais.
He will face Stingrays' starting keeper Ben Bowns, who will line up for the GB squad.